Special Issue "Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2"

A special issue of Vaccines (ISSN 2076-393X). This special issue belongs to the section "Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2022 | Viewed by 3942

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Syrigos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Third Department of Internal Medicine, Sotiria Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, 11527 Athens, Greece
Interests: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; vaccine; mRNA; cancer
Dr. Ioannis Vathiotis
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Third Department of Internal Medicine, Sotiria Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, 11527 Athens, Greece
Interests: lung cancer; head and neck cancer; immunotherapy; biomarkers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since November 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has resulted in more than 250 million confirmed cases and 5 million deaths worldwide, disrupting all aspects of human society, including patient care. While patients with cancer appear more vulnerable to suffering from complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection, social distancing, lockdown measures as well as the impendence of overhwelmed healthcare systems have severly affected decision-making processes of medical oncologists.

This Special Issue will focus on the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the care of patients with cancer covering aspects such as the epidemiology & management of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with malignancy, delayed diagnosis and management of the underlying malignancy, caveats in the design and conduct of clinical trials, running guidelines regarding the vaccination of patients with cancer, mRNA technology and its applications in cancer therapy and the application of the SARS-CoV-2 expertise in the development of novel antineoplastic drugs. Original research articles and reviews are welcome.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Syrigos
Dr. Ioannis Vathiotis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Vaccines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Assessment of Seroconversion after SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination in Patients with Lung Cancer
Vaccines 2022, 10(4), 618; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10040618 - 15 Apr 2022
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Abstract
Background: SARS-CoV-2 mortality rates are significantly higher in patients with lung cancer compared with the general population. However, little is known on their immunization status after vaccination. Methods: To evaluate the humoral response (seroconversion) of patients with lung cancer following vaccination [...] Read more.
Background: SARS-CoV-2 mortality rates are significantly higher in patients with lung cancer compared with the general population. However, little is known on their immunization status after vaccination. Methods: To evaluate the humoral response (seroconversion) of patients with lung cancer following vaccination against SARS-COV-2 (Group A), we obtained antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein both at baseline and at different time points after the first dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (two to three weeks [T1], six weeks ± one week [T2], 12 weeks ± three weeks [T3], and 24 weeks ± three weeks [T4]). Antibodies were also acquired from a control cohort of non-lung cancer patients (Group B) as well as a third cohort containing healthy controls (Group C) at all time points and at T4, respectively, to make comparisons with Group A. Analysis of antibody response at different time points, association with clinicopathologic parameters, and comparisons with control groups were performed. Results: A total of 125 patients with lung cancer were included in the analysis (96 males [74.3%], median age of 68 years [46–91]. All study participants received two vaccine doses (BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, AZD1222). Analysis of anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibody titers showed minimal response at T1 (0.4 [0.4–48.6] IU/mL). Antibody response peaked at T2 (527.0 [0.4–2500] IU/mL) and declined over T3 (323.0 [0.4–2500] IU/mL) and T4 (141.0 [0.4–2500] IU/mL). Active smokers had lower antibody titers at T2 (p = 0.04), T3 (p = 0.04), and T4 (p < 0.0001) compared with former or never smokers. Peak antibody titers were not associated with any other clinicopathologic characteristic. No significant differences were observed compared with Group B. However, lung cancer patients exhibited significantly decreased antibody titers compared with Group C at T4 (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Lung cancer patients demonstrate sufficient antibody response six weeks after the first dose of vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 when vaccinated with two-dose regimens. Rapidly declining antibody titers six weeks after the first dose underline the need for a third dose three months later, in patients with lung cancer, and especially active smokers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2)
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Communication
Prediction of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Immunogenicity, Immune Escape and Pathogenicity, through the Analysis of Spike Protein-Specific Core Unique Peptides
Vaccines 2022, 10(3), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10030357 - 24 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 762
Abstract
The recently discovered Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has raised a new, global, awareness. In this study, we identified the Core Unique Peptides (CrUPs) that reside exclusively in the Omicron variant of Spike protein and are absent from the human proteome, creating [...] Read more.
The recently discovered Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has raised a new, global, awareness. In this study, we identified the Core Unique Peptides (CrUPs) that reside exclusively in the Omicron variant of Spike protein and are absent from the human proteome, creating a new dataset of peptides named as SARS-CoV-2 CrUPs against the human proteome (C/H-CrUPs), and we analyzed their locations in comparison to the Alpha and Delta variants. In Omicron, 115 C/H-CrUPs were generated and 119 C/H-CrUPs were lost, almost four times as many compared to the other two variants. At the Receptor Binding Motif (RBM), 8 mutations were detected, resulting in the construction of 28 novel C/H-CrUPs. Most importantly, in the Omicron variant, new C/H-CrUPs carrying two or three mutant amino acids were produced, as a consequence of the accumulation of multiple mutations in the RBM. These C/H-CrUPs could not be recognized in any other viral Spike variant. Our findings indicated that the virus binding to the ACE2 receptor is facilitated by the herein identified C/H-CrUPs in contact point mutations and Spike cleavage sites, while the immunoregulatory NF9 peptide is not detectably affected. Thus, the Omicron variant could escape immune-system attack, while the strong viral binding to the ACE2 receptor leads to the highly efficient fusion of the virus to the target cell. However, the intact NF9 peptide suggests that Omicron exhibits reduced pathogenicity compared to the Delta variant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2)
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Review

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Review
Application of mRNA Technology in Cancer Therapeutics
Vaccines 2022, 10(8), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10081262 (registering DOI) - 05 Aug 2022
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Abstract
mRNA-based therapeutics pose as promising treatment strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Improvements in materials and technology of delivery systems have helped to overcome major obstacles in generating a sufficient immune response required to fight a specific type of cancer. Several in vivo models and [...] Read more.
mRNA-based therapeutics pose as promising treatment strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Improvements in materials and technology of delivery systems have helped to overcome major obstacles in generating a sufficient immune response required to fight a specific type of cancer. Several in vivo models and early clinical studies have suggested that various mRNA treatment platforms can induce cancer-specific cytolytic activity, leading to numerous clinical trials to determine the optimal method of combinations and sequencing with already established agents in cancer treatment. Nevertheless, further research is required to optimize RNA stabilization, delivery platforms, and improve clinical efficacy by interacting with the tumor microenvironment to induce a long-term antitumor response. This review provides a comprehensive summary of the available evidence on the recent advances and efforts to overcome existing challenges of mRNA-based treatment strategies, and how these efforts play key roles in offering perceptive insights into future considerations for clinical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2)
Review
The Big Potential of Small Particles: Lipid-Based Nanoparticles and Exosomes in Vaccination
Vaccines 2022, 10(7), 1119; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10071119 - 13 Jul 2022
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Abstract
Some of the most significant medical achievements in recent history are the development of distinct and effective vaccines, and the improvement of the efficacy of previously existing ones, which have contributed to the eradication of many dangerous and life-threatening diseases. Immunization depends on [...] Read more.
Some of the most significant medical achievements in recent history are the development of distinct and effective vaccines, and the improvement of the efficacy of previously existing ones, which have contributed to the eradication of many dangerous and life-threatening diseases. Immunization depends on the generation of a physiological memory response and protection against infection. It is therefore crucial that antigens are delivered in an efficient manner, to elicit a robust immune response. The recent approval of COVID-19 vaccines containing lipid nanoparticles encapsulating mRNA demonstrates the broad potential of lipid-based delivery systems. In light of this, the present review article summarizes currently synthesized lipid-based nanoparticles such as liposomes, lipid-nano particles, or cell-derived exosomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2)
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Other

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Brief Report
Significant Increase in Blood Pressure Following BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination among Healthcare Workers: A Rare Event
Vaccines 2022, 10(5), 745; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10050745 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 766
Abstract
This brief report examined the frequency and characteristics of a significant blood-pressure (BP) increase after Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccination among healthcare workers who were advised to measure their BP at home. A total of 797 participants (mean age 48.1 ± 10.8 years, 63% women, [...] Read more.
This brief report examined the frequency and characteristics of a significant blood-pressure (BP) increase after Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccination among healthcare workers who were advised to measure their BP at home. A total of 797 participants (mean age 48.1 ± 10.8 years, 63% women, 39% smokers) were included in the analysis. Seven participants reported an increase in their BP (three in the range of grade 2 and four in the range of grade 3 hypertension). Only one participant had a history of treated hypertension. The BP increase was observed at the end of the first week after the first dose, lasted for 3 to 4 days, and recurred promptly after the second dose. Only one case required hospitalization, mainly due to a history of cardiovascular disease (follow-up). Individuals experiencing a BP increase compared with those not reporting issues with their BP had a higher mean age and similar distribution of sex and non-smoking status. In conclusion, a significant BP increase after Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination seems to be rare and of a benign and transient nature. Monitoring the BP before and after vaccination might be advisable only for selected individuals with a high cardiovascular risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2)
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Case Report
Therapeutic Effect of mRNA SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine on Melanoma Skin Metastases
Vaccines 2022, 10(4), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10040525 - 28 Mar 2022
Viewed by 545
Abstract
A unique case of multiple metastatic melanoma skin nodules regression in a heavily pretreated, 72-year-old Caucasian female, after administering the second dose of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is presented. Two days after vaccination, all her melanoma skin nodules became painful and were [...] Read more.
A unique case of multiple metastatic melanoma skin nodules regression in a heavily pretreated, 72-year-old Caucasian female, after administering the second dose of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is presented. Two days after vaccination, all her melanoma skin nodules became painful and were significantly reduced in size. Physical examination and ultrasound imaging confirmed the patient’s observation. The effect was sustained, and further reduction of the nodules occurred after the third vaccine dose. One of the reduced nodules was removed, histologically examined, and its histopathology was compared to that of another such nodule removed and examined earlier. Distinct differences were observed between the two histopathologies, with the most notable the unexpected finding of the absence of infiltrating lymphocytes in the reducer nodule’s melanoma tissue. Based on this observation, the possible immunological mechanism(s) leading to the vaccine’s effect are speculated. More possible is the vaccine’s antitumor and apoptotic activity via stimulation of the Tol Like Receptors 3, 7, and 8, and (downstream) the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of the activated B cells pathway of the non-lymphocytic immune effector cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oncology in the Era of SARS-CoV-2)
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